Center City District developers will not present at Tuesday's City Council meeting
Representatives for the Center City District project, the proposed $132 million development poised for the heart of downtown, will not present before City Council Tuesday, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors CEO Mark Bell said Monday evening.
After hearing a range of criticisms and questions on the project at the Planning Commission meeting April 26, Bell and fellow developers decided not to present in front of council, wanting more time for community feedback in order to cement a well-received project.
The move was finalized Monday morning, Bell said, and was confirmed by City Manager George Lahanas. The project is still listed on the agenda and council could still vote to approve or deny the project, though Lahanas said a vote will now be unlikely.
Absence of a presentation won’t defer public comment of the project, which the developers and City Council both want to go forward.
“The public comment might take place,” Greg Ballein, co-owner of Ballein Management, said. The Ballein family own the private properties on Grand River Avenue that will be incorporated into the project, and are spearheading the development.
“We’re not going to present anything until we get before council, so we might not be there but the public can come and speak its mind and tell council what they think, good or bad, about the project," Ballein said.
Bell informally announced the decision Monday at a public meeting at Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, to the surprise of the community in attendance.
“Truthfully the feedback we received from the community, we wanted to spend a couple more weeks integrating some of those things into the design before ultimately going before council,” Bell said.
The announcement slightly overshadowed further updates to the project, which were unveiled to the community for the first time since the Planning Commission vote.
What was a 12-story building along Albert Avenue has now dropped to 10-stories — an 18-feet height reduction which forces the building to lose one floor of residential space. The building now sits at 117 feet tall.
Prior plans slated the building to have six floors of residential living space and six floors of parking but current plans now call for five floors of each. Parking spaces in the Albert building were reduced from 714 to 613.
Furthermore, the Albert building's retail space, which takes up the first floor, has been set back an additional four feet from the street while the residential space which sits on top of the parking area has been set back to a total of 14 feet.
“We kept the same number of units and the same density because we essentially flattened the building and elongated it so we were able to keep everything,” Bell said, which is largely due to a switch from eco-span material to flat composite material.
The change to flat composite deck material from eco-span material also will affect the Grand River building component. The building is largely unchanged, but the change in materials will reduce the height of the building by just over eight feet.
The estimated height of the Grand River Avenue building now sits at 131.7 feet.
The new updates could affect the reimbursement deal the developers are trying to capture, though Bell could not provide an estimated dollar amount.
Bell placed the timetable for going before council as early as the end of the month or the beginning of June.
“At the end of the day we’re here to listen and to be stewards of the site, so we want something the community will be proud of and we hope this is a good step in the right direction,” Bell said.